Consumers Will Shop In-Store During Back-to-School Shopping Season

The International Council of Shopping Centers’ (ICSC) annual “Back-to-School Spending” survey revealed good news for brick and mortar retailers earlier this month. Consumers are in search of the best back-to-school deals and promotions and are hitting their local shopping centers to find them.

This year, 89% of consumers will make their back-to-school purchases in local shopping centers and malls. A vast majority (69%) will shop at discount stores, followed by office supply stores (37%) and department stores (32%). Physical interaction with goods is the top reason for back-to-school shoppers to visit stores. Most important among these shoppers are:

  • The “ability to see, touch, or try on the merchandise” (46%)
  • The “ability to browse/ease of buying specific items” (36%)
  • The “convenience of one-stop shopping” (35%)
  • “Avoiding shipping fees” (34%)

Parents of children in K-12 are expected to spend an average of $309.60 while those shopping for college plan to spend an average of $437.80. Many will wait to start their shopping until they see advertisements or sale prices in stores and nearly 90% said they’re influenced by promotions in terms of the amount they spend and the items they purchase.

“Back-to-school is one of the shopping seasons where we really find people looking for specific items at the best price,” said Tom McGee, president and CEO of ICSC. “Consumers are more informed than ever and research prices and products prior to making a purchase so it isn’t surprising that so many shoppers are waiting for sales and discounts before buying their back-to-school items.”

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Digital will play a role as well, this shopping season. A majority of consumers (81%) will utilize their mobile devices while in-store shopping for merchandise. Among this group, 58% will compare prices, 39% will download digital coupons, 38% will check availability/inventory, and 30% will take pictures of items that might be purchased.

Source: Chain Store Age